9 Surprising Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

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oil pulling

9 Surprising Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

More and more research is revealing that the health of your mouth is extremely critical to the health of your whole body.   A dysbiotic oral cavity increases our risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and dementia (1, 2, 3).  Oil pulling is an easy and inexpensive way to improve the balance of microorganisms in the mouth and improve our health.

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a pure oil around in the mouth to draw toxins from the body.  This practice has immediate and tangible effects on conditions such as halitosis, gingivitis and dental plaque.  Doing this regularly has been shown to improve the luster of the hair, clear the skin, whiten teeth, eliminate parasites, reduce joint pain and improve overall body odor (4, 5, 6).

The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene:

The balance of microorganisms plays an enormous role in the health of the overall body.  Numerous studies, including a very large report done at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, have shown a connection between periodontal disease and increased risk of stroke and cognitive decline (7, 8).

One of the major oral bacteria is streptococcus mutans, which when left unchecked will multiply in the mouth and secrete toxins into the body’s bloodstream.  These toxins increase the inflammatory associated cytokine Interleukin-12 (IL-12), which is a strong contributor for the development of chronic disease (9, 10).

Elevated levels of IL-12 are particularly associated with endothelial (inner lining of the blood vessel) dysfunction which is correlated with heart disease, stroke and dementia (11, 12).

oil pulling

Oil Pulling Goes Beyond Brushing & Flossing

Brushing and flossing are obviously important for oral hygiene but oil pulling has some unique benefits.  The oil pulling has been shown to bind, trap and eliminate more microorganisms and get into deep pockets within the teeth and into some regions around root canals (13).

Root canals are a constant breeding ground for bacteria as they are essentially dead tissue that bacteria consistently feed upon.  You cannot brush or floss enough to get the infections out of the root canal.  But 10 minutes of oil pulling 1-2 times a day can be extremely effective at minimizing infectious bacteria in the root canal and the overall oral cavity (14).

How to Practice Oil Pulling: 

There are many different ways to practice oil pulling.  Many people swear by one particular method, but various other strategies will work well for you.  Here are the most frequently asked questions that I get on a routine basis when it comes to the beautiful process of oil pulling.

What is the Best Type of Oil to Use?

Use a high-quality carrier oil such as organic coconut oil, organic olive oil or organic sesame oil.  I prefer to use coconut oil.  You can find my preferred brand here.  It will be solid at room temperature but will melt within 15 seconds of putting it into your mouth.

Should I Use an Essential Oil?

You may also want to use an antimicrobial essential oil such as tea tree oil, oregano oil or lemon oil.  Just use 1 small drop as these oils are very strong.  You don’t need this as research has demonstrated great benefits with the use of the carrier oils above.

The benefit of the essential oil is that it has the potential to amplify the anti-microbial benefits you receive from the oil pulling process.  Give it a shot for a week and see what you think.  Be sure to ONLY use 1 VERY small drop each time.  Too much could be too irritating for your teeth and gums.

oil pulling

How Do You Oil Pull:

Take 1/2 tsp of carrier oil (coconut, sesame, olive, etc) and 1 drop of anti-microbial oil (tea tree, oregano, lemon, etc) and put in your mouth and swish around for 10-15 minutes.

Avoid gargling the oil but instead use slow pulling motions and be sure to get the oil to all reaches of the mouth.  Most people find that the oil feels thinner after the 10 minute mark.  Never swallow any of the oil as it is full of toxins and microbes.

After finishing the oil swishing, spit the oil into the toilet.  Drink some clean water with a pinch of salt and wash the solution around your mouth to eliminate any of the toxic debris still in your mouth.  Go ahead and brush your teeth really well to help eliminate any other toxins that would still be in your mouth.

How Often Do I Do It?:

I recommend my clients do this 1-4 times daily depending upon their health history and dental health challenges.  Someone who has a root canal or multiple root canals, I will strongly encourage to oil pull 3-4x daily.

Someone without much dental challenges may do great with one oil pull session per day.  I typically recommend 1-2x daily for them.  I personally am in this boat as I have never had a cavity or any major dental work done.  I always oil pull in the AM at some point and will often do it again in the evening.

What is the Best Time to Oil Pull?

There is no real answer to this other than whatever time you have available.  I personally like to do it within the first hour of waking and the last hour before bed.

How Long Before I Notice Benefits?

Most people notice the health improvements within two weeks of beginning the oil pulling process.  Although your mouth may feel cleaner right away.

The typical benefits most experience include whiter teeth, better breath, better body odor, less joint pain and improved energy.  The long-term benefits are invaluable as this may be one of the best strategies for reducing chronic disease risk.  This process is simple, easy and inexpensive.

Can I Oil Pull Even Though I Have Amalgam Fillings?

Fortunately, oil pulling does not induce a detox reaction, nor will it pull mercury vapors out of fillings.  It will not wear out or cause corrosion in your fillings any more than having a salad with oil would.

I don’t recommend using essential oils with your oil pulling if you do have amalgams as they may cause a corrosive reaction.  However, oil pulling with olive, coconut or sesame oil is absolutely poses no threat at all.

People have told me they feel dizzy when they oil pull and this is most likely due to rigorous swishing.  Try using just a small amount – like 1/4 or 1/2 a teaspoon and letting it sit in your mouth with little to no switching for 5 minutes.  Slowly build your way up to where you can handle 10-15 minutes of gentle swishing.  If you desire, you can then add more oil to your pulling sessions.

Can Oil Pulling Cause Gum Bleeding?

There is nothing about the process of oil pulling that would cause the gums to bleed or any unwanted dental issue.  However, some individuals have a sensitivity or even an allergy to a particular oil they are using.  If this is the case, that oil will cause more inflammation in their body and could lead to gum bleeding.

Additionally, if you use too much of the anti-microbial oils, they could inflame your gum lining.  Be sure to only use 1 very small drop and never more each time you oil pull.

If you notice this or some other unwanted reaction that seems to consistently happen when you oil pull, try using different oils or discussing with your holistic health care practitioner.

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Sources For This Article Include:

1. Li X, Kolltveit KM, Tronstad L, Olsen I. Systemic Diseases Caused by Oral Infection. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2000;13(4):547-558.
2. Periodontal infections and cardiovascular disease Link Here
3. Rautemaa R, Lauhio A, Cullinan MP, Seymour GJ. Oral infections and systemic disease–an emerging problem in medicine. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2007 Nov;13(11):1041-7. PMID: 17714525
4. Singh A, Purohit B. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. 2011;2(2):64-68.
5. Asokan S, Kumar RS, Emmadi P, Raghuraman R, Sivakumar N. Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2011 Apr-Jun;29(2):90-4. PMID: 21911944
6. Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res. 2009 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-51. PMID: 19336860
7. Matthews JC, You Z, Wadley VG, Cushman M, Howard G. The association between self-reported tooth loss and cognitive function in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke study: An assessment of potential pathways. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939). 2011;142(4):379-390.
8. Joshipura K, Zevallos JC, Ritchie CS. Strength of Evidence Relating Periodontal Disease and Atherosclerotic Disease. Compendium of continuing education in dentistry (Jamesburg, NJ : 1995). 2009;30(7):430-439.
9. Hahn C-L, Best AM, Tew JG. Cytokine Induction by Streptococcus mutans and Pulpal Pathogenesis. Clements JD, ed. Infection and Immunity. 2000;68(12):6785-6789.
10. Activation of Human Monocytes by Streptococcus mutans Serotype f Polysaccharide: Immunoglobulin G Fc Receptor Expression and Tumor Necrosis Factor and Interleukin-1 Production Link Here
11. Leishman SJ, Do HL, Ford PJ. Cardiovascular disease and the role of oral bacteria. Journal of Oral Microbiology. 2010;2:3402
12. Mishra M, Kumar H, Bajpai S, Singh RK, Tripathi K. Level of serum IL-12 and its correlation with endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance, proinflammatory cytokines and lipid profile in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2011 Nov;94(2):255-61. PMID: 21855158
13. Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu MS, Rathna PV, Emmadi P; Raghuraman; Chamundeswari. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2008 Mar;26(1):12-7. PMID: 18408265
14. Peedikayil FC, Sreenivasan P, Narayanan A. Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – A preliminary report. Niger Med J. 2015 Mar-Apr;56(2):143-7. PMID: 25838632

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  1. Started this about 2 weeks ago and am seeing the results. My teeth have never felt so clean and are getting whiter! Anxious to see what my dentist says next time I go for my regular cleaning.

  2. I’ve had a serious problem with reoccurring thrush in my mouth and down my throat. I had it 6 times in 7 months. I had been to the doctor and even an internalist many times. I have been on every drug and doing all kinds of natural stuff. I have spent a fortune trying to get rid of it. A few weeks ago my mouth was feeling funny. I went and looked in the mirror, yep it was back. On the inside of both upper and lower lip. I had just read about oil pulling a couple of days before. I had some organic virgin.coconut oil. I put some in my mouth and went about my morning routine. Wishing it for at least 30 minutes. Later I realized the thrush had almost vanished. I did it for 2 more days just in case. It hasn’t come back!!

    1. Any edible vegetable oil will do, but it’s better to use one that has low inflammatory effects. Many people recommend coconut or olive oil and they are better than say, corn oil.

  3. Village green network also has good article.
    I’ve been at it 7 months and its an easy morning habit. I cut back to 1/2 tsp coconut oil and it’s just as effective I believe.
    My routine is to ride stationary bike, read daily bible and swish or get ready for work and swish 15-20 min.
    Return is worthwhile: clean teeth, facial muscles stretched, nicer skin plus more on the inside.
    Avoid old oil or you can get sick.

  4. can you do it before you go to sleep?

    can i take my anti-cavity and anti plaque rinses also, and in what order


      1. Actually, Oil pulling is the safest way to clean your teeth when you have amalgam fillings. Brushing and flossing around the filling will cause more mercury vapor to be released. Oil pulling will not. Blessings!

  5. Might one expect any kind of detox reaction on skin,etc once getting started with oil pulling? Should this be done on an everyday routine?

    1. When you say don’t use essential oils with amalgams doees that mean don’t use a drop of lemon with the coconut oil?

    1. If you have amalgams than only use coconut oil…as it is least reactive. The worst thing for fillings is actually brushing and flossing around them (and chewing hard on them) as that is highly reactive.

      1. What a blessing to have a Dr. that is willing and who makes himself available to respond to people.

        Blessings to you and your family.

        Shalom !

  6. Today, February 27, has been a week since we began the pulling exercise.
    We started out using the coconut oil for 6 days, and now we have switched to sesame oil, because it seems easier to just pour out of the bottle, rather than heating the
    coconut oil to liquefy. Which of the three (3) oils would be most beneficial for us
    us to use?
    Thanks so much for providing your wealth of health benefits.
    It has been a blessing for us!

  7. Today, February 27, has been a week since we began the pulling exercise.
    We started out using the coconut oil for 6 days, and now we have switched to sesame oil, because it seems easier to just pour out of the bottle, rather than heating the
    coconut oil to liquefy. Which of the three (3) oils would be most beneficial for us
    us to use?
    Thanks so much for providing your wealth of health benefits.
    It has been a blessing for us!

  8. Hi! Love your site, thank you so much! Going crazy with different websites saying O.P. not good if you have crowns or bridge work as it could work them loose. Do you have any information/sources to confirm or debunk that? I tried oil pulling for a couple of weeks and loved the clean feeling and fresher breath, however have been getting intermittent bit of tooth pain but it might be due to clenching/grinding/stress in my sleep. (x-ray confirmed that on a couple of the teeth). Thanks!

    1. Actually, Oil pulling is the safest way to clean your teeth when you have amalgam fillings. Brushing and flossing around the filling will cause more mercury vapor to be released. Oil pulling will not. Coconut oil is the safest oil to pull with. Blessings!

  9. I like to know what are the name of the parasites and if any lab research had ever look into microscopical to see what is in this oil after oil pulling ? I can not find any studies confirming the toxins heavy metals or parasites on it ,

    1. Neither have I Pat, but what I do know is that it lowers your microbial load. This is a HUGE aspect of health. Microbes both help and harm our body. When our microbial load (even the good guys) gets too high it puts too much stress on our system. Oil pulling is an easy and effective way to reduce your microbial load and reduce stress on your body and improve your oral and whole body health!

  10. Thanks so much,Dr. Jockers,for informing us about the proper use for (coconut oil ) oil pulling. We found that we really didn’t care for using the sesame oil and started back using the coconut oil. We have been using this method now over a month. And it has been worthwhile. We’re just wondering what foods can we use to cook with the remaining sesame oil ?

  11. Dr. Jockers, we have been told by plumbers not to pour oil down the drain, because it would cause clogging in the sewer line. With long term oil pulling, will this (spitting in the toilet) have any problem with the sewer lines?

  12. I have been getting dizzy/slight vertigo during the day after oil pulling with coconut oil. I have read that this could be a “detox symptom” but also worry that the oil is pulling mercury out of my three amalgam fillings and into my bloodstream faster that my system can handle it. The vertigo is VERY unpleasant and I never had it before. Only happens on days I pull, and then maybe still leaves me feeling weird the next day. Any thoughts?

    1. Yes you may be having detoxification issues. I would recommend you stop the pulling and seek out a good holistic dentist in your area to help you get the amalgams removed naturally and go through a heavy metal detox. Go here: https://iaomt.org/

  13. I have been receiving Hyperbaric Treatments from Bill in Buford. He tells me that you purchased a Hyperbaric from him. I need the treatment closer to my home in Woodstock rather than drive to Buford. Bill suggested that I contact you.
    Have you started offering that service?
    Please advise.
    Most people call me, Uncle Marty

  14. Dr Jockers I am curious if oil pulling will loosen bridgework. My mom has bridgework and has already had one of the bridges replaced due to the age of it (she has never done oil pulling). She has the new bridgework and also old bridgework and is worried the oil pulling will loosen them. I would appreciate any advise.
    Thank You

      1. Hey Tania, it can create pockets in the mouth where bacteria accumulate and constantly release harmful toxins into the body. If the procedure is necessary you may want to locate a Biological Dentist in your area. Post procedure once everything is healed you will want to perform good oral hygiene practices like oil pulling to minimize bacterial build up and keep it all clean.

  15. Hi Dr. Jockers,

    I was wondering if it makes a difference when you oil pull around meals? If you’re doing it 3X a day for detox is it better to do it before a meal or after?
    I’ve heard quite a few of your talks lately on the different summits, they are awesome, thanks for all the info!!

  16. Hi Dr Jockers,

    I have been oil pulling for a month now, I see some have issues oil puling with
    amalgam fillings. I only have 1, is it ok for me to oil pull with this type of filling? I don’t want to open the doors to other health problems.

    It’s relaxing to oil pull 1st thing in the morning, I’m hoping I don’t have to give it up because of the amalgam filling.

    Thanks for educating us

    1. Hey Rachel,

      There are no issues with oil pulling with amalgam fillings. I would highly recommend doing it with just a straight coconut oil which is non-reactive with the amalgam. No essential oils as some of them are more reactive. Blessings!

      1. I have been oil pulling with coconut oil for over a week and was ready to try adding oregano essential oil to it after seeing this on your website. Then I read your reply to Rachel. I have three amalgam fillings. Would oregano be ok to use? Also, if you crown the amalgam fillings will that reduce any effect of the fillings to the body. Thank you! I have enjoyed reading your articles. Vicki

        1. Hey Vicki,

          Oregano oil is more volatile and reactive than coconut. So I only recommend oil pulling with coconut oil for those with amalgam fillings. But you can use oregano oil in many other ways. Blessings!

  17. This was very interesting. Thank you Dr. Jockers. I have a mouth full of amalgam fillings and its good to know doing this can’t hurt me any, but it can help. I plan on picking up coconut oil today. Thanks

  18. Hi Doctor David,

    I am interested in your comments about coconut oil being “the least reactive”. Can you point me to some reading material which backs up this comment, perhaps comparing olive oil, sesame oil and coconut oil.

    The reason I am questioning the idea is because I know coconut oil causes it’s own kind of die-off reaction when ingested, so it is far from being ‘unreactive’ in other areas of the body. Where can I read abut it’s relatively low reaction to metals/amalgams?

    Eoin in Ireland, Europe

  19. Hey Eoin,

    Coconut oil is anti-microbial because of lauric acid, but that is not reactive with metals. Anti-oxidants would be reactive – olive oil and sesame oil contain bioactive anti-oxidants. Coconut oil contains minimal anti-oxidants which makes it non-reactive.

    Die off from microbial populations is a different property than reactivity with metals.

  20. Hi dr jockers, this is really interesting. Whn I get up in the morning, I take an 8oz. Glass of water with. 1 teaspoon of. Of organitc. Apple cider vinegar. Will this be ok, if I start.doing the oil pulling with. Fractioned coconut oil?

  21. WOW! On Friday after work, I started getting some tooth pain in my upper molars. That turned into what I think is an abscess. There was swelling and seemed to be some pus inside and a lot of pain. Wouldn’t you know it was a long weekend. After trying everything from rinsing with warm salty water, to anbesol, to alcohol, ibuprofen, etc. I woke up at 4Am to swelling and pain. I remembered what you had written about the oil pull and tried it. After 10 minutes, using just the organic coconut oil (we had some for cooking), all of the pain, swelling, and pus was gone!!! I’ve never seen anything work like this. Almost like magic. The side benefit was that my teeth were a little more sparkly and seemed whiter. After doing it a second time several hours later, there actually seems to be some healing of the area. Thank you Dr. Jockers for all you do for us. You unselfishly share information that helps us to be and stay healthy. I pray that God returns to you 10-fold the blessings you have given to others.

  22. very interesting, will try this oil pulling. I understand drinking coconut oil in tea is good for you. Is this true? and how much daily? and if it is good for me should I drink “virgin” coconut oil or the coconut oil I use for cooking? thanks you very much.

    1. Kathy,

      Sorry to hear about this! Although oil pulling won’t necessarily prevent the need for a root canal, it will greatly benefit his oral health.

    1. Good Question Tomekia,

      You may want to ask your dentist about this. As long as all of the dental work is set solid in place and there is nothing left to heal, then oil pulling can be a great tool for you!

  23. I honestly LOVE LOVE LOVE this website and I love reading your articles Dr Jockers! You are doing such a great service to people around the world, helping them regain their health.

    I really cannot thank you enough for your dedication and wisdom.

  24. Hello Doctor!
    I have got 2 root canals done on my 2 front teeth (incisors). Both are more than 10 yrs old and have crowns on them. One my molars in lower jaw had cavity and it was filled. The filling has worn away. I am also experiencing slight sensitivity in another molar (must be wearing away of enamel). I want to ask, given the dental work done on my teeth, is it safe to oil pull using extra virgin coconut oil?

    1. Hey Alice, I have not found blood typing to have any significance with regards to nutrition. The very foods the blood typing diet says I should avoid, coconuts and avocados, are what I thrive on!

  25. I have a root canal that is around 40 years old. My naturopath has recommended that I swish straight Wild Mediterranean oregano oil in my mouth twice a day as he believes I may have a low-grade infection under my wisdom teeth contributing to a failure of a large pocket of lymph in my jaw to drain. I forgot to tell him about the root canal.

    I have never had symptoms that indicated to me that the root canal was a problem, although I understand that all of them harbor bacteria. Would you recommend that I forego the oregano altogether, or maybe just use a drop along with coconut oil?

  26. Oh, and I forgot to mention that my wisdom teeth have never been a problem and there was plenty of room for them to grow in. Also, I have never had a cavity in my life other than one on the side of one of my bottom teeth, and that one healed itself.

    1. Coconut oil pulling with a drop or two or oregano or clove are both great ideas Gregory! Oregano can be a bit harsh for some. There are also great ozonated oil pulling solutions available online that would be very helpful.

  27. Dr. Jockers, I have heard that holding those oils on your mouth for longer than 5 minutes can cause the toxins to be re-absorbed! Do you know if there’s any research that bears this out?

    1. No that is an incorrect assumption and not true at all. But it is important to spit the coconut oil out when finished because if you swallow it, than you can reabsorb toxins. Be Blessed!

  28. Good morning Dr. Jockers,

    Thank you immensely for your wealth of knowledge and the valuable information you provide for those seeking after it!!!
    I was told I needed a Root Canal after a “watch”. I didn’t move forward with it months ago year because 1) I didn’t have the finances (over $1,000 & still don’t) and 2) while researching I read about the harm of keeping “dead teeth” in the mouth.
    I started Oil Pulling once again with Coconut Oil and sometimes a drop of Aloe Vera Gel. I really do not want to have a Root Canal at all. What else can I do besides Oil Pull so a Root Canal will become a distant memory next time I see my dentist? Or should I Oil Pull several times a day along with flossing? Is there another alternative verses a Root Canal IF AND ONLY IF I have no other choice?

    Thank you so very much and abundant blessings to you and yours~

    Sharon B

      1. Okay, and thank you Dr. Jockers very much!!!
        I don’t have any pain in the suggested area regarding the Root Canal, and I’ve been implementing some of those practices presented in the article in the past like Vit. D3 (5000mg); Matcha Green Tea; 90% elimination of white sugar, flour, rice, etc. I see that I must endeavor to limit Phytates in my diet as much as possible. Thank you again for the valuable article and your time!!! It is much appreciated.

          1. Gosh thanks Dr. Jockers!!! I truly receive that prayer – you are such a Blessing!!

            Peace & Blessings – Sharon B.

  29. If you spit the used coconut oil in the toilet or sink it will harden naturally and then plug your plumbing! Read up on this before recommending, thanks.

  30. I feel that spitting the oil in the toilet is starting a coconut oil build up in the pipes. My husband used a coconut oil shaving product that I made at home, the under sink pipes did build up the colder solid oil. I can see that after a time period, this may effect the toilet as well.

  31. I have been doing it for almost two years. I spent thousands at my dentist for forty year, no more I now see a holistic dentist and oil pulling and my teeth are the best it’s ever been. Highly recommend. Could not be happier. Health starts in your mouth. Finally I get it!! It’s way less money. HAPPY!!

  32. Will oil pulling help with periodontitis? I was seen in the dentist’s office yesterday and was told I am in the beginning stages of periodontitis. I brush and floss daily and I do not have any pain, sensitivity, bleeding, nor have I had a cavity in probably 30 years, although I do tend to build up tartar. I am facing a deep root scaling which I am not looking forward to. I oil pulled in the past but have not done it in 4 or 5 years. I purchased some organic coconut oil today and began a pulling regimen. I immediately noticed a difference in the level of tartar on the surface of my teeth but I am curious as to whether or not pulling will help with the build up I have accumulated below the gum line.
    Thank you.

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